Wednesday, July 31, 2013

EDITING vs. REVISING

To me, editing a novel means FIXING/AMENDING the nuts and bolts of a story. It can be correcting typos, cutting exposition, or tightening a scene for pacing purposes. It can be adjustments made to firm up logic, or address areas where the language is too flowery or too stilted.
OIL CHANGE


You know...it's an oil change, new brake pads--making what you have work better. It may mean adding those ass-kickin' skull emblazoned new seat covers you wanted to dress it up a bit, and it might be the opportunity to upgrade to that stereo and speaker system and that will really resonate and literally vibrates your little bug down the road.


Likewise, to me, revising a novel means tinkering with the engine and fuel source of a story. As in the main plot, the subplot(s), or character arc. It means changing something integral to the basis of the story, something which effects everything. Change the gender or race of your main character. Change the setting from modern day NYC to Victorian England. Instead of a heroine with a three-legged dog as a side kick, she gets a spunky kid sister instead. This is rewriting. Sometimes, it simply has to be done if you want to sell a story.

TRADE THIS OVERUSED STORY VEHICLE...


You know...it's taking that rusty and dented body in sky blue, the one you love so much, and allowing it to become more than you ever intended...reshaping it with tools and bondo, working it through a couple coats of primer, and ending up with a sleek and glossy cherry red. It's taking that reliable work-truck and trading it for something new and sporty, something more maneuverable and exciting.



...FOR THIS SLEEK, AGILE STORY VEHICLE



        So...if you are writing, then conceivably, editing is something you are quite able to do. Spell check, grammar, etc. There are resources available to correct the mechanical stuff.




Revising however, requires that you are willing.


Personally, when I have an idea and I get it onto the screen-page, a rough outline forms around it. Sometimes I write myself into a corner and have to revise everything. When I do reach the end, my self-editing ensues addressing mechanical issues while I debug and re-calibrate as needed.


If an established and reliable editor or agent with a proven track record offers suggestions based on what they see as needed for the story, or ideas that would improve the story and its impact on readers in a positive way, then Hell yes I am going to seriously consider how to address their concerns.

Don't be the author standing in the dark pit of some plot-hole that swallowed them alive, and shout up into the lighted world of the writing business (where sales are actually made), saying, "No I like it this way."




2 comments:

  1. Ah, bondo, turning rust-buckets into race-cars one fender at a time ...

    ReplyDelete